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Document number: 727
Date: 14 Nov 1816
Recipient: TREVELYAN Walter Calverley
Author: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Collection: Univ of Newcastle Upon Tyne Robinson Library Trevelyan Family Papers
Collection number: WCT 237
Last updated: 2nd October 2013

Castleford, <1>
November 14. 1816

My Dear Trevelyan,

I returned here nearly five months ago, after a very short tour on the Continent, for I was absent from London, only a little more than six weeks – four of which I spent at Paris – I had frequent opportunities of seeing the Botanical Garden there, & was very much pleased with it – They The plants are distributed according to the method of Jussieu <2>, which is much the best for such an establishment – They are exceedingly neat, & free from weeds, & most of them growing finely – the houses are tolerably good – I saw a fine Banana Tree in flower & fruit – Josephine’s ci-devant <3> garden at Malmaison, is one of the prettiest spots I ever saw – On the 25th of May I had the pleasure of taking a walk over the Field of Battle at Waterloo – Although 11 months after the Battle, it was still highly interesting – <4> I even saw blood on the wall, where a cannon ball had killed seven men – The deserted garden at Hougomont was flourishing in all the verdure of Spring – In the forest of Soignies, I saw Phyteuma spicatum, not a native of England, growing plentifully. It is very like our English Phyteuma orbiculare, only taller & handsomer with a longer spike of flowers – The blossom is dark blue, but I found a white variety also – In the same place I saw a little of Convallaria multiflora – which is sometimes met with in England – Carex pallescens (which also grows at Castleford) & Rhamnus Frangula grew in the same spot – This was not more than three miles from Brussels – Nearer Brussels I met with Ornithogalum umbellatum, & a species of Cyathea which I could not determine, tho’ it was common in the Hedges – I could not decide whether Cynoglossum omphalodes which I met with in the grounds of the Prince of Orange at Laeken, was wild there or not – The voyage on the Canal from Ghent to Ostend was quite delightful – Menyanthes nymphζoides <5> abounded on the surface of the water, but was not in blossom yet – Nymphζa alba was in flower, & looked beautiful – Coming home I saw several rare plants in England – viz – Salvia pratensis by the roadside near Rochester –

Carex pendula – Five miles from Canterbury [towards] Ramsgate, plentiful – the rest I have forgotten but I recollect an umbelliferous plant was plentiful by the roadside, I think it was Apium graveolens – The Roadsides in France are bordered with Apple Trees, which were all in blossom, & had a very pleasing effect – In Josephine’s garden at Malmaison I saw Salvia pratensis very abundant on the lawns, where it must be a great weed, tho’ a very pretty one – With it grew Veronica Teucrium of Linnζus (not British) & Salvia Saxifraga granulata in plenty – In the Bois de Boulogne near Paris, which must have been an excellent field for botanizing, till the Allies cut it down) <6> I saw the same Saxifraga granulata and Convallaria Polygonatum, a rarer species (at least in England) than the multiflora – In the same place grew the pretty Pulmonaria officinalis in flower, and Ajuga pyramidalis of the Paris botanists, which I conceive to be Ajuga alpina of Eng. Botany. Euphorbia Cyparissias is extremely abundant by roadsides & in woods near Paris – (I have lately found it at Scarthingwell, ten miles from this place –) Potentilla verna, a pretty little early flower, was also plentiful in similar situations – & Eryngium campestre, which was not in flower, & might easily have been overlooked for a Thistle – Sambucus Ebulus is frequent by the roadsides on the Continent – I also saw many other plants, which were not sufficiently advanced to be made out – One of these was I think, Astragalus glycyphyllos – Of Cryptogamic vegetables I saw but few, Polypodium calcareum (I believe) grew on the edge of a fountain at St Cloud, & I saw Encalypta vulgaris & Bryum cuspidatum in good fruit –

Yrs sincerely
W. H. F. Talbot

Pray keep some specimens of the Fossil Bark you mentioned some time ago, for a fair mineralogical friend of mine, who is dying to have some – The Botanic Garden at Brussels was not very good – & in great disorder – Answer this soon, for I have much to tell, & I hope, much to hear – I am not going to Oxford, but to Trinity Coll. Cambridge –

I am all anxiety to see the eclipse of the Sun next Tuesday, tell me in your next if you saw it at Oxford –

W. C. Trevelyan Esqr
University Coll –


1. Castleford, Yorkshire, 10 mi SE of Leeds, where WHFT went to school from 1815-1816.

2. Antoine de Jussieu (1686–1758), physician and botanist. [See Doc. No: 00754].

3. Former.

4. The battle took place on 18 June 1815. A cousin of WHFT's mother, Lady Elisabeth Feilding, Lt Col Thomas Fox Strangways (1790-1854) was wounded in the battle - see Doc. No: 00686.

5. See Doc. No: 00713.

6. No opening bracket.

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